• W. Austin Gardner

BIBLE WINDOW-SHOPPING



A familiar figure on the streets is the window-shopper who moves along gazing fondly in each show window but buying nothing. In the realm of things spiritual, we have with us the Bible window-shopper. He moves along through the Book reading its precious promises, hearing its high challenges, looking at its deep messages of peace and power and victory. But he never makes them his own. He appreciates but does not appropriate. He respects his Bible, argues for it, counts it dear, but its rich treasures never become living realities in his own experience. He is a window- shopper amongst the storehouses of God’s revealed truth.

On the way, he passes by where is displayed such a choice jewel as “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” “What a rare pearl that is!” he exclaims. “What a lofty faith one needs to believe that!” So he moves on and the treasure stays on exhibition. He does not go in and claim it, though, if he be a believer, it is his and is there for him. He is only window-shopping.

How many believers loiter along the Bible stores and come away empty. “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” One reads that devoutly and, an hour later, is worrying about adversity and bemoaning his hard circumstances! “They which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by One, Jesus Christ.” Another looks at that gem and lives like a pauper when God meant him to be a prince. “All things are yours,” there are many who behold that free pass to all God’s unlimited stock, yet live spiritually almost bankrupt. Window-shoppers!

The storehouse of God’s Word was never meant for mere scrutiny, not even primarily for study but for sustenance. It is not simply a collection of fine proverbs and noble teachings for men to admire and quote as they might Shakespeare. It is rationed for the soul, resources of and for the spirit, treasure for the inner man. Its goods exhibited upon every page are ours, and we have no business merely moving respectfully amongst them and coming away none the richer.

The window-shopper upon the streets often has a very good reason for not buying: he has not the wherewithal. But no believer can say that of God’s riches, for the treasure of His Word is without money and without price. Whosoever will drink freely. Some window-shop because they never have fully realized that the things of the Spirit can be made actual, living realities here and amidst this humdrum, daily round of commonplace duties. Others loaf along, indifferent to their inward poverty, faring scantily when the banquets of God are at their disposal. And some substitute wishful longing for the practical realization of the Christ-life.

The Lord is rich unto all who call upon Him. Let us have done with this idle window-shopping. Let us go into the deep stores of His Word, rummage among its treasurers new and old, and come forth from each excursion laden with the bounty in the Book


Vance Havner, The Best of Vance Havner

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